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The inhibitory subunit of cardiac troponin (cTnI) is modified by arginine methylation in the human heart

Onwuli, Donatus O.; Samuel, Sabrina; Sfyri, Pagona; Welham, Kevin; Goddard, Martin; Abu-Omar, Yasir; Loubani, Mahmoud; Rivero, Francisco; Matsakas, Antonios; Benoit, David M.; Wade, Mark; Greenman, John; Beltran-Alvarez, Pedro


Donatus O. Onwuli

Sabrina Samuel

Pagona Sfyri

Kevin Welham

Martin Goddard

Yasir Abu-Omar

Mahmoud Loubani

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Dr David Benoit
Senior Lecturer in Molecular Physics and Astrochemistry

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Dr Mark Wade
Senior Lecturer in Molecular Genetics

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Dr Pedro Beltran-Alvarez
Senior Lecturer in Health and Climate Change and Programme co-Director of the MSc Health and Climate Change


The inhibitory subunit of cardiac troponin (cTnI) is a gold standard cardiac biomarker and also an essential protein in cardiomyocyte excitation-contraction coupling. The interactions of cTnI with other proteins are fine-tuned by post-translational modification of cTnI. Mutations in cTnI can lead to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Methods and Results
Here we report, for the first time, that cTnI is modified by arginine methylation in human myocardium. Using Western blot, we observed reduced levels of cTnI arginine methylation in human hypertrophic cardiomyopathy compared to dilated cardiomyopathy biopsies. Similarly, using a rat model of cardiac hypertrophy we observed reduced levels of cTnI arginine methylation compared to sham controls. Using mass spectrometry, we identified cTnI methylation sites at R74/R79 and R146/R148 in human cardiac samples. R146 and R148 lie at the boundary between the critical cTnI inhibitory and switch peptides; PRMT1 methylated an extended inhibitory peptide at R146 and R148 in vitro.Mutations at R145 that have been associated with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy hampered R146/R148 methylation by PRMT1 in vitro. H9c2 cardiac-like cells transfected with plasmids encoding for a methylation-deficient R146A/R148A cTnI protein developed cell hypertrophy, with a 32% increase in cell size after 72 h, compared to control cells.
Our results provide evidence for a novel and significant cTnI post-translational modification. Our work opens the door to translational investigations of cTnI arginine methylation as a biomarker of disease, which can include e.g. cardiomyopathies, myocardial infarction and heart failure, and offers a novel way to investigate the effect of cTnI mutations in the inhibitory/switch peptides.
Abbreviations: Arginine methylation (ArgMe), collision induced dissociation (CID), dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), matrix-assisted laser desorption ionisation - time of flight (MALDI-TOF), protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs), S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM).


Onwuli, D. O., Samuel, S., Sfyri, P., Welham, K., Goddard, M., Abu-Omar, Y., …Beltran-Alvarez, P. (2019). The inhibitory subunit of cardiac troponin (cTnI) is modified by arginine methylation in the human heart. International journal of cardiology, 282, 76-80.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 29, 2019
Online Publication Date Jan 31, 2019
Publication Date May 1, 2019
Deposit Date Jan 30, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jan 31, 2019
Journal International Journal of Cardiology
Print ISSN 0167-5273
Electronic ISSN 1874-1754
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 282
Pages 76-80
Keywords Arginine methylation; Inhibitory/switch peptide; Mass spectrometry; Post-translational modifications; Troponin inhibitory subunit
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the accepted manuscript of an article published in International journal of cardiology. The version of record is available at the DOI link in this record.


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